Wanting to make commutation safer and reduce the challenges that public face – the group also organised a panel discussion involving administrators from the transportation department, architectural planners, policewomen, activists etc in order to further the progress.
“This is a movement we undertook quite a while ago, in order to make public spaces safer – we started off with gender-sensitising drivers and conductors,” says Sandhiyan Thilagavathy, co-founder of AWARE. He adds, “The other founder, Janani Viswanathan is the brain behind this project. Using all the data available to us, we wanted the public to interact with government officials and tell them their needs during the panel meet.”
Apart from working on the project of installing CCTV cameras in MTC buses, AWARE has also initiated a campaign to stop gender-based violence in public transport. “Just how people know that they can’t drink liquor or smoke cigarettes on the bus, they need to know that indecent behaviour is a no too. We are also working with the government and police to bring out an MTC app on which women can make real-time complaints, as well as a dedicated mobile number for sexual harassment on buses,” says Sandhiyan, also quoting that other workshops on using education and arts to end GBV were held.
Aswathy Dilip, Program Manager, Tamil Nadu – ITDP, who was part of the panel, said that many women are educated but not everybody end up at work because public transport. “The ITDP is planning to implement a non-motorised policy. We have so many attributes to define smart cities, but no women issues are addressed... that should change.”
Gnanasambantham S, Asst. Manager Safety Department, MTC, also gave an assurance that more conductors and drivers would be trained on gender equality, and said that a trial run of CCTV installation in ten buses has already been done.